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The MMO Experiance

Discussion of both current and future MMOs and their trends.

Author: bsmith239

Is a story that important to an mmog?

Posted by bsmith239 Thursday April 17 2008 at 6:24PM
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    My question is simple, is a constant story important to an mmo? It seems easy to gravitate towards saying "yes a story is needed to grab a players attention from level one and keep them on the right direction until they reach the level cap" and a lot of mmos have developed this approach. The problem I see with this is it gives the player a false sense of FINISHING the game. A person thinks, "whelp the story is over guess thats it" and religates him/herself to raiding, pvping and then quitting the game for lack of "content". Or they start pushing the devs for more "end game content" which is really a myth in mmos anyways. I was playing the free trail of EVE the other day and I had an epiphany of sorts and this is what came pouring out of my mind

   First off,  what if an MMO had no real involved story but your own UNTIL you reached cap? Think of the whole leveling up system is your "training" for the epic battles to come your way once you max out. Hell the game would be designed around its endgame content from the get go. For example you could spend 3 months leveling to 50 on your toon only to have a whole story driven campaign waiting for you t  that could take you another 3 months to complete. This campaign could include questing, raiding and pvping and would tie those three things together. A player could choose how they wanted to help in the struggle at level cap. Now, you might say this is just sort of putting a mask over the problem of  'end game content', and once people flew through the end game campaign there would be nothing to do but raid and PvP. But a company could continually pump out end game content if they did not worry about adding new content for lower level players. Of coarse this would mean that the leveling from 1 to whatever would have to be extremely polished from the beginning which in turn would mean that a company would need to actually finish the game prior to launch but its totally doable. If company's didn't realease games that where unfinished at the lower level stand point they could put all effort  into expanding game systems and adding "elder game" (which is a better term) content after release. Now I am not saying that there would be no direction at the beginning of this fictional mmo. What I mean is that the NPCs and other players around you would be pushing you to excel at your training so you can succeed in your battles ahead at cap. It would really give the since that you are leveling (training) for a reason and give you something to look forward to.

 

Another look at it, which is more like EVE, is there could be no story at all except the one you make for yourself. Yeah there would be quests in the world but its up to the player to do them and if you dont want to and just want to farm and craft all day you could do that all the way to max level.  If someone wants to get into politics let them do that too. These games are supposed to be ROLE PLAYING GAMES. They are supposed to allow you play the role you want to in a virtual world. But it seems to me that these days you are playing the role the game developers want you to in there games. But that is a discussion for another time.

 

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far away.....

Posted by bsmith239 Thursday April 17 2008 at 1:43AM
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Star Wars Galaxies was not a horrible game, but with technology like we have today the ultimate space opera could be brought to life in MMO form like never before. Below are my humble ideas on how this, IN MY OPINION, could/should come together.

Developer: BioWare Austin

Producer: Lucas Arts

Basic game mechanics: Mass Effect meets Jedi Outkast/Academy, EVE and X-Wing.

Timeline: Based after Return of the Jedi as the New Republic is being built.

Style: More sandbox than level oriented

Endgame: Large Scale Ship to Ship PvP (Emperial Remnant vs New Republic), Ground PvP, Arena PvP, Raiding (though star wars style), playing the economy, politics, crafting.

Leveling:

System similar to Mass Effect where you don't get skills directly by gaining levels. You get skill points you can put towards getting a skill. I'd say three points per level would be good!

 

Classes:

No true classes at the beginning but by building up certain attributes (using your skill points) you are allowed access to class trees later on in your characters development.  The beginning attributes are:

Renegade, Diplomacy, Soldiering, Technology, Piloting, Force Sensitivity (only for force sensitives), ect

Building these up will gain you basic skills until you reach the point to choose an actual class. You would choose a class based on how you allocated your points throught these attributes. For instance if you wanted to be a bounty hunter and have access to that skill tree you wold have to put most of your points in Renegade and Soldiering, where as to be a jedi you would have to build up Force sensitivity and Diplomacy. After chosing a class  you can continue to put points towards any of these you want but you will not have access to any other class skill trees. You would then start putting skill points towards gaining whatever skills you want from the class skill tree. (ie. the abilty to use rocket packs and dual blasters in the bounty hunter tree) Classes would be similar to what is seen in Star Wars Galaxies.

 

Character Creation:

You pick a Race and a starting area (if your race can choose, ie. wookies have to start on Kashykk) and then do the basic creation of your toon. At the end the only choice you make is are you force sensitive or not force sensitive.

Force sensitive individuals: Pros-Can become jedi/sith or choose not too and be any other class and still retain some force sensitivities. Have inhanced regeneration at the beginning. Cons- are generally mistrusted by NPCs. Cannot join the empirial reminant. Have to balance light and dark side even if they are not a jedi (consequences for being part of either).

Non Force Sensitive individuals: Pros-Can become any class in the game (minus jedi/sith) Have advance tech abilities at the beginning. Can join the rebel alliance, emperial remnant or neither. Can rise all the way to General and command battle cruisers if they want. Although they will balance good vs. evil it is not as important to the character as it is for force sensitive individuals. Cons: No force powers.

 

Combat:

Ranged combat would be basically the same as Mass Effect. FPS style with your character stats determining how the weapon handles (accuracy, heat transfer, etc). Different classes would allow you to carry more or less types of weapons.

Melee combat would basically be like the Jedi Knight series in that your basic attack is to swing your weapon (Mouse 1) and other buttons would perfom your skills. It is up to the player to keep the targeting reticle on the target. No point, click and snooze here.

Space combat (ship vs ship):

Think the customization and strategy of EVE mixed with the real time skill of X-Wing. A player would be able to purchase a basic spacecraft at level 40 (out of 80) and begin exploring the galaxy, smuggling spice or hunting bounties accross the galaxy. Also a player could join the New Republic/Imperial Remnant and start a career as a fighter pilot and build there ranks up to become a general and have the ability to fly capitol ships.

The Ships:

Fully customizable down to the paint job (unless you join the military of coarse). Loads of models from the star wars universe. Most ordinary pilots would only graduated to flying melinnium falcon sized craft but being a part of the military will grant you access to capitol ships.

The Galaxy:

Think the size of EVE with the planet functionality of Mass Effect. Certain areas would be patrolled and PvP would not be allowed. But going to other areas and your little skiff might get blown to bantha fodder before you know it.

Questing:

 The New Republic is fighting on a lot of fronts and the Emperial Remnant still stands in its way. Join the military and do quests for them or travel to different planets perfoming tasks and missions for various individuals.

Crafting:

You betcha, everything from ship parts to death sticks.

Being a jedi:

Being a Jedi in this game would mean playing a part in what Lukes new Jedi Council wants you to do. Of all the classes this one would be the most restrictive...unless you play the reclusive sith of course :D

Balance:

Jedi would be cool but not uber. I'd say that a well decked out Jedi would be on even par with a well deck out (insert class here).

 

So what would my character do?

Whatever you want him to do. If you want to start an underground spice trade and have five smugglers running it across the galaxy then go for it. But remember the economy is run by the people so make sure not to screw it up too much. If you are more of a battlehard then why not join armed services and kick some butt  or chase down griefers as a bounty hunter. Basically everything Star Wars Galaxies touted but couldn't deliver is what this game is all about.

 

 

 

 

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